The Real Miracle at the Meadowlands 2

A couple of years ago, when the Eagles pulled off their miraculous comeback win over the Giants, culminated by a DeSean Jackson TD with no time left, people called it the Miracle at the Meadowlands 2. In fact, it was Miracle at the Meadowlands 3. Some people seem to have forgotten the 2nd one. Which is too bad, because it’s just as crazy as the other two.

The Eagles had stumbled out of the gate in 1988, going 1-3 in the mont of September. They finally started to right the ship in late October, and by November 20th, they were riding a 3 game winning streak into the Meadowlands. The Giants, meanwhile, were 7-4 and tied with the Cardinals atop the division.

It was 48 degrees and pouring rain at kickoff, and it never let up. Randall Cunningham was rendered rather ineffective (14-36, 224 yards) by the rain and the Giants D, and the running backs combined for a mere 43 yards (Randall put up another 64 on the ground.) But the Birds caught a couple of breaks, and also knocked Giants QB Phil Simms out of the game with a bruised shoulder in the 3rd quarter. His replacement, Jeff Hostetler, was completely ineffective, but the Giants still clung to a 17-10 lead with less than 5 minutes left. That’s when Cunningham connected with Keith Jackson over the middle. Jackson was hit by Terry Kinard at the 2 yard line, and coughed it up. It tumbled into the end zone where Cris “All He Does is Catch Touchdwon Passes” Carter proved that he could also recover touchdown fumbles. The game went into overtime.

In overtime, Jeff Hostetler threw a pass into the arms of Eagles defensive back Terry Hoage, and the Birds took over on the Giants 41. They marched the ball down the field to the 13, then Luis Zendejas lined up for the winning field goal. The snap was good, the hold was good, and…”I didn’t see anything,” said Clyde Simmons. ”I just heard a thud.”

Lawrence Taylor had ripped through the middle and blocked the kick. Defensive end Clyde Simmons scooped the ball up at the 15 (there was no lateral as Merrill Reese states in the video) and started running it in. It was a heads up play, as a lot of guys didn’t realize that was he was doing was legal.

”We chased him,” said Leonard Marshall, the Giant defensive end. ”But I think a lot of us thought they couldn’t do that.”

It was legal, since Simmons had picked it up behind the line of scrimmage. And it got the Eagles into the playoffs. Both the Giants and the Eagles finished the season with 10-6 records, but the Eagles went to the playoffs on account of the fact they had beaten the Giants twice that season. To think, if Clyde Simmons hadn’t picked up that fumble…it might have been the Giants playing in that absurd game at Soldier Field in the playoffs. And another interesting note: this game took place 10 years and 1 day after the original Miracle in the Meadowlands.

Quotes and the storyline came from the boxscore of the game and this 1988 NY Times piece.


One Comment on “The Real Miracle at the Meadowlands 2”

  1. Chip Millard says:

    To me, there have actually been FOUR Miracle of the Meadowlands games for the Eagles:

    1) 1978 – Herm Edwards’ touchdown after the Joe Pisarcik/Larry Csonka fumbled hand-off exchange in the last minute of the 4th quarter.

    2) 1988 – Clyde Simmons’ touchdown in overtime after the blocked field goal.

    3) 2003 – Brian Westbrook’s punt return with about a minute left in regulation after the Eagles had done nothing all day on offense.

    4) 2010 – DeSean Jackson’s punt return on the last play of regulation to cap off a 28-0 run in the last 8 minutes of the game after the Eagles trailed 31-10.

    A couple other games at the Meadowlands worth noting also include the only NFL game decided by a punt (the 1989 game against the Giants in which Randall Cunningham booted a 91 yard punt that changed field position and ultimately put the Eagles in a position to win) and the crazy 1993 game against the Jets in which Eric Allen had an amazing 94 yard interception return in the 4th quarter to give the Eagles a come from behind win after Randall Cunningham suffered a season-ending injury earlier in the game.

    BTW, you have a very nice website here.


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